TORONTO -- For the first time since the creation of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in 1957, outfielders will be chosen by designated position -- left, center and right -- in the selections by Major League managers and coaches.
Previously, all outfielders were in the pool, and frequently three center fielders were honored. The timing of the alteration could prevent the Angels' Peter Bourjos from claiming a prize he seemingly has merited with his brilliant play in center in his first full big league season.
"Peter is absolutely deserving of a Gold Glove as far as I'm concerned," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "No question about it."
The new rule puts Bourjos in direct competition with such talented athletes as Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, Detroit's Austin Jackson, Baltimore's Adam Jones, New York's Curtis Granderson and Seattle's Franklin Gutierrez.
Torii Hunter, Bourjos' teammate and nine-time Gold Glove winner as a center fielder, is now in competition with the likes of the Yankees' Nick Swisher and the Orioles' Nick Markakis.
"Maybe I'll sneak in and win No. 10," Hunter said, grinning.
Vernon Wells, a three-time Gold Glove winner while playing center for Toronto, goes against the favorite in left, Brett Gardner of the Yankees.
"Naturally, I'd love to win a Gold Glove," Bourjos said. "But I also realize there are a lot of great center fielders in the league."
Bourjos, depending on whose metrics you prefer, is ranked either first or second among American League center fielders defensively. Ellsbury has the edge in some statistical evaluations, while Bourjos prevails in others.
What matters, however, is how the men in the dugouts whose living it is to judge such matters vote. The advantage Bourjos clearly has over Ellsbury is his strong and accurate arm, but that is difficult to measure statistically because of the variables involved.
In what amounted to a two-month audition last season, which took him out of this year's Rookie of the Year race, Bourjos racked up an amazing 10 assists -- a record pace if projected across a full season.
Alert now to the dangers of trying to take the extra base against the ultra-quick Angel in the outfield, runners are not testing Bourjos nearly as frequently in his sophomore season. Accordingly, his assists numbers have dropped off, costing him ratings points in the computer machinations.
"I know who gets my vote," said Angels third-base coach Dino Ebel, who has seen seen Bourjos' impact on an everyday basis. "I'll take Pete."
In eight of the nine years that Hunter won Gold Gloves, there were two center fielders selected along with right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Wells rounded out the threesome for three consecutive seasons.
In 2007, when Ichiro was moved from right, all three Gold Glovers played center. Fourteen times it's been an all-center field Gold Glove alignment for the AL.
Hunter embodies desperation of Halos
TORONTO -- For players in the second halves and fourth quarters of their careers, September losses in pursuit of October dreams hit hard. So, there was Torii Hunter on Monday night, seated, head down, at his locker for close to a half hour absorbing the pain of a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays in 10 innings.
"It's been desperate for me since August," said Hunter, the Angels' right fielder and acknowledged clubhouse leader. "I've been hungry since August.
"I have the same approach as every other day. We had a chance to get a half-game closer [to American League West-leading Texas] and it got away. All is not lost. We just need to be [within] three by Monday."
With nine games left heading into Tuesday's contests, the Rangers' magic number for clinching the division title is five -- any combination of Texas wins and Angels losses adding up to five. The Angels are 4 1/2 games behind Boston and 2 1/2 behind Tampa Bay in the Wild Card chase.
Esteemed veterans line the Angels' clubhouse, holding onto slender threads of hope. Hunter and Bobby Abreu yearn to return to the postseason and chase their first World Series titles. Fellow veteran Vernon Wells wants to get his first taste of postseason play.
"It's what you play for," Hunter said. "It's what keeps you going. The personal stuff, you've done all that. You want that ring."
Trout, Callaspo get nod against lefty Cecil
TORONTO -- With every game taking on added importance as the end draws nearer, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to go with his customary lineup against Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil on Tuesday night.
That meant veterans Bobby Abreu and Maicer Izturis took seats on the bench, as rookie Mike Trout and Alberto Callaspo received starts.
Abreu has uncharacteristically struggled against lefties, hitting .236 with a .315 on-base percentage and no home runs in 144 at-bats. Trout is hitting .250 against lefties, slugging .550 with three homers in 40 at-bats.
Izturis, however, has higher numbers across the board against lefties than Callaspo. Izturis is a .300 hitter vs. southpaws with .444 slugging and .353 on-base marks. Callaspo's line reads .293/.357/.342. Both are switch-hitters, and there is no distinct advantage either way defensively.
Bobby Wilson, a .245 hitter against lefties, got the call behind the plate with Joel Pineiro on the mound.
Leadoff man Peter Bourjos (.305) has been the Angels' best hitter this season against lefties. With 10 doubles, six triples and five homers in 164 at-bats, Bourjos has a .530 slugging mark, the best among regulars.
Vernon Wells is slugging .516 with nine homers against lefties. Howard Kendrick (.500, seven homers), Torii Hunter (.488, eight homers) and Mark Trumbo (.254, eight homers) also have produced against southpaws.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.